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A giant mole rat emerges from its hole, and carefully eyes the surroundings for predators. Giant mole rats are endemic to the Bale Mountains and they are the Ethiopian Wolves’ primary prey. In the afro-alpine habitat they can be astonishingly abundant, reaching densities of up to 2,600 individuals per square kilometre!

This is a photo that I became completely obsessed with getting. Every day for five days I would spend hours patiently positioning my camera close to mole rat holes and then waiting in the distance with my wireless shutter release poised, willing a mole rat to stick its head above the parapet. Usually the mole rat would have more patience than me and I would eventually give up and move the camera. With the camera gone, the mole rat would typically appear within 10 minutes and nonchalantly recommence feeding on the vegetation around its hole. On occasion, a particularly tricky mole rat would shove earth up from below to fill in the opening of its hole, ensuring I got the message that my camera wasn’t welcome! I think mole rats may be the most infuriating creatures I have ever attempted to photograph!

Still, having invested so much time in trying to get the shot, I stubbornly persevered… I couldn’t let the mole rats win! I gradually habituated one particular individual and eventually I managed to get several close-up shots with the wide-angle lens :)

- Ethiopian Wolf Project

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